Trump Just Signed Away Underground Coal Mining Jobs

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Before coal miners begin rejoicing the end of “Obama’s War on Coal,” they should realize the war on their jobs isn’t over—that war began well before Barack Obama took the oath of office.

Amid the name calling, political propaganda, and willful ignorance that came as a result of coal industry’s “War on Coal” campaign, many Appalachian miners forgot a very important fact, their jobs have always been considered overhead on the company’s quarterly statements. Their job, like any other overhead such as the cost of supplies, fuel, equipment etc., is a drain on the company’s overall profit. Within our system of capitalism and free market economics, businesses must continually seek to reduce expenses (overhead) so they can increase their quarterly returns, satisfy their stockholders, and  compete with other companies on a global scale.

As Bruce Stanley stated in the new documentary film Blood on the Mountain, “Coal doesn’t want you to have a job, because coal does better if you don’t have a job.  That’s benefits that don’t have to be paid, that’s salaries that don’t have to be paid, that’s so when you’re broken and busted you don’t have to be cared for.”

If anything, Trump’s signature paved the way to reducing mining jobs in Appalachia by opening the floodgates on surface mining, a highly productive form of mining that requires fewer miners who can be paid lower wages. If a coal company can make a higher profit by surface mining, why would they be inclined to open and operate as many underground mines?

This has not been a win for coal miners, this has been another win for coal companies.


Need more proof of coal’s continued mechanization? See below.

While the stream protection rule that Trump and congress just eliminated did not directly impact this form of contour surface mining, it is important to realize that the coal industry is finding more ways to recover coal using fewer workers. The high wall miner featured in this video effectively replaces the need for many underground mines and larger surface mines. It only requires four employees to operate per shift.

10 thoughts on “Trump Just Signed Away Underground Coal Mining Jobs

  1. Pingback: Trump Just Signed Away Underground Coal Mining Jobs – biblebeltsite

    • True, but those mines under the water table are hot as well (more methane for those out there who don’t know the lingo). Deeper, slower, more costly and less economical to mine. It forces Appalachian met coal further out of the global market.

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  2. While I grasp the fear of having your known skill area disappearing, miners need to look ahead and master some other skill. Canada retrained thousands of fishermen when they imposed a fishing moratorium…people panicked…the world as they and their ancestors had known was ending…they were retrained and so many express deep gratitude for being forced to learn something new and far easier physically. Coal is filthy resource…mining is horribly destructive on the land…almost all mining is, but coal and strip mining is horrible.
    Be proactive…retrain and learn a new trade before the floor drops out.

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  3. People that worked in carriage factories, cheese factories, creameries, steel mills and on and on had to retrain. There are a lot more resources today to help you find a new and safer career.

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  4. Dear writer, I have a scheduled tour during the summer with 18 girls ages 14 & 15 in a coal mine in Kentucky. I am very interested in asking you some questions about your and your ancestors coal mining experiences sof I might create a very personal experience for these girls. They are attending a summer camp and our theme for the camp is, “It’s Better to Look Up” as in its better to look toward heaven for answers, help, guidance…. I feel that there could be a huge tie in between the mine and our theme. If you are interested in helping me please email me at cyndsterful@gmail.com if not feel free to erase this post.
    Thanks you in advance.
    Cyndi

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  5. Pingback: The Mono-Economy of Coal or: How to Maintain a Captive Workforce | The Thoughtful Coal Miner

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